Take Care of Your Poor Feet

May 24th, 2009 healthwiki Health Resources 0

A huge number of people develop foot pain in their 60s. Usually they think that foot pain is a part of the aging process and accept it walking with pain. But it can start as early as the 20s and 30s as well. With simple measures like proper footwear and regular exercise can play an important role in preventing foot problems.

On an average, healthy people walk the equivalent of three times around the Earth in their lifetime. That is a matter of enormous wear and tear on the 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 tendons, ligaments and muscles that make up the foot.

Excessive weight, diabetes and circulation problems can contribute to foot pain. The most common foot conditions that occur with age are arthritic joints, thinning of the fat pads cushioning the soles, plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the fibrous tissue along the sole), bunions (enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe), poor circulation and fungal nails. The following questions will help you assess whether you should take more preventive action as you age.

Are you overweight? The force on your feet is about 120 percent of your weight. It can lead to plantar fasciitis and heel pain and can worsen hammertoes and bunions. It is also a risk factor for diabetes, leading to the next question.

Are you diabetic? Being farthest from the heart, the feet can be the first part of the body to manifest complications like poor circulation and loss of feeling, both of which can lead to poor wound healing and amputation. Diabetics should have their feet examined annually by a doctor and avoid shoes that cause abrasions and pressure.

Do you have poor circulation? If you suffer from peripheral artery disease — a narrowing of veins in the legs — your feet are more susceptible to problems. Smoking also contributes to poor circulation.

Do your parents complain about their feet? Family history is probably your biggest clue to potential problems.

Do your shoes fit? Feet flatten and lengthen with age, so if you are clinging to the shoe size you wore at age 21, get your feet measured (especially mothers — pregnancy expands feet).

Do your feet ever see the light of day? Fungus thrives in a warm, moist environment. Choose moisture-wicking socks (not cotton), use antifungal powders and air out your toes at home.

Do you walk? Putting more mileage on your feet is the best way to exercise the muscles and keep them healthy.

— Dr Md Rajib Hossain —

Fitness Programme: 6 Steps to Guide Your Selection

May 24th, 2009 healthwiki Weight Loss 0

Fitness programmes abound, from yoga and Pilates to step aerobics and strength training — either at home or in a gym. So which type of fitness programme is best for you? Use these 6 simple steps to find out.

Step 1: Assess your fitness level
You probably have some idea of how fit you are. But assessing and recording baseline fitness scores can help you set your fitness goals and measure your progress. To assess your aerobic and muscular fitness, flexibility and body composition, consider recording:

* Your pulse rate before and after a one-mile walk

* How long it takes to walk one mile

* How many push-ups you can do at a time

* How far you can reach forward while seated on the floor with your legs in front of you

* Your waist circumference at the level of your navel

* Your body mass index

You may also want to consult a doctor before beginning an exercise programme, especially if you have been sedentary or you have any chronic medical conditions.

Step 2: Determine your fitness goals
Keeping your fitness level in mind, think about why you want to start a fitness programme. Perhaps your doctor has suggested that you start a fitness programme to lose weight. If you are already active, perhaps you want to rev up your fitness programme to prepare for a 5K race or get ready for a favorite sport. Having clear goals can help you stay motivated.

Step 3: Consider your likes and dislikes
Next think about the types of physical activities you enjoy most. After all, a fitness programme does not need to be drudgery. You are more likely to keep up with a fitness programme you enjoy.

If you love riding your bicycle, consider a spinning class. If you have a blast on the dance floor, an aerobics class that includes dance moves would be a good bet. If you are a social person and like to be active with others, a gym or health club membership may be the ticket. If you prefer to exercise alone or you find health clubs intimidating, exercises you can do at home may be best.

Step 4: Think variety
Varying your activities (cross-training) can keep exercise boredom at bay. Cross-training also reduces the risk of injuring or overusing one specific muscle or joint.

When you plan your fitness programme, consider alternating among activities that emphasise different parts of your body — walking, swimming and strength training, for example.

Step 5: Do the math
By now, you probably have a sense of which type of physical activities might be best for you. But you also need to make sure that your choices are in line with your budget.

If a gym membership or home exercise equipment is too pricey, consider cheaper options for getting in shape. You can base a fitness programme around brisk daily walks and inexpensive hand-held weights or resistance bands. You might consider buying used exercise equipment — or sharing the cost with a friend.

Step 6: Go for it!
You have thought through your likes and dislikes and the pros and cons of various types of fitness programs. Now it is time to get physical! Remember to start slowly and build up intensity gradually.

Each workout puts you one step closer to reaching your fitness goals. If you get bored or lose interest in your fitness programme, do not be afraid to try something new. Reassess your fitness level and set new fitness goals. The result? A future of improved fitness and better health.